Auto Laundry News - April 2012

Industry Newsline


Zep Inc., the exclusive licensee of Armor All Professional™ car wash products, has added two new car wash industry veterans to support the company’s business in Florida and the metro Atlanta area. Glenn Benjamin is now responsible for sales in Florida, except for southeast Florida. Benjamin owned a car wash operation in the Tampa, FL area for six years and later helped Mr. Clean Car Wash open its first two stores in Cincinnati. Zac Lyle has been in the car wash business for more than 10 years and will manage chemical sales in the metro Atlanta area, where he formerly owned and managed several wash operations.


Lustra™ Professional Car Care Products has announced that A Better Chemical Company Inc. has been appointed distributor for its products for the Western Pennsylvania region. Located in Pittsburgh, PA, A Better Chemical Company has 30 years of car wash experience. The company offers a variety of equipment products and services and has been providing services in the Western Pennsylvania region for four years.


During 2011, Autobell® Car Wash’s Charity Car Wash Program helped raise $678,153 for charities, schools, and
other nonprofits in North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. The Charlotte-based company’s program began in 1998 and has assisted nonprofits in raising over $4.75 million to date. Through the program, Autobell provides 501(c)(3) groups with full-service car wash tickets custom-printed with the organization’s name. The tickets are sold by the nonprofit at full price and honored at all Autobell locations. Fundraisers keep 50 percent of the proceeds from all ticket sales.

Nonprofits interested in Autobell’s Charity Car Wash Program should contact Judith Pittelko at (704) 527-9274 or (800) 582-8096 or visit


The Car Wash Operators of New Jersey (CWONJ) drew 50 individuals to its winter membership meeting in Clark, NJ titled “Using eMarketing to Grow Your Business.” Boston operator Adam Korngold of Wave’s Car Wash spoke on the timely topic. Korngold, a full-serve and exterior operator has shifted his marketing focus over the last two years and incorporated more social media and e-mail marketing with great success. According to Korngold, he has cut his advertising expense by 50 percent and increased his volume and market share significantly.

Korngold is the vice president of the New England Carwash Association (NECA) and a Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC) board member. He was honored with the NRCC’s Most Distinguished Person Award in 2011. He has also been honored by the EPA with an Environmental Merit Award for his exceptional work and commitment to the environment. The association’s next event is its April 24 car wash tour. For more information visit


The West Coast operating affiliate of Henley Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Valvoline Instant Oil Change, has
announced that it has completed the purchase of 72 EZ Lube oil change service centers in Southern California. The stores, located predominantly in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego, will be re-branded under the Valvoline Instant Oil Change banner over the next six months. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition marks Henley’s entry into the California market.

Henley, based in the Boston area, was formed to operate one of the first franchised Valvoline Instant Oil Change facilities in Somerville, MA in 1989. Now a coast-to-coast operation, Henley employs more than 1,800 associates in 12 states.


Sherman L. Larson (Sherm) the founder of Sherman Vacuum Company, later renamed Sherman Supersonic Industries and Sherman Industries, passed away February 5 in Riverton NJ at the age of 93.

Sherm’s contributions to the modern car wash industry are legendary. Things that operators use every day — wrap-around brushes, friction curtains, conveyors, high-pressure equipment, vacuums, and everything in between — has his stamp on it. Sherm fathered or played a major role in the development of more than 50 patented products for the car wash industry that were licensed to and/or manufactured by the company he founded, Sherman Vacuum Company.

Sherm started life on an Iowa farm, ran away from home at the age of 16, settled in Los Angeles, and began building sets for the movie industry. WWII broke out and Sherm began working in an airplane factory. Sherm was living above a retail vacuum store. One day, while sweeping rivets from inside a plane’s fuselage, Sherm thought he could build a vacuum to do the same job. He built and sold a number of vacuums during the war. At war’s end a friend told Sherm about a new and growing industry, car washing.

The rest is history. Sherm put vacuums on a trailer, took them from wash to wash, and sold every one. As time passed, operators were requesting Sherm to develop other car wash equipment. Sherm complied by developing, innovating, and building car wash equipment that one day would lead Sherman Industries to be the most prolific provider of tunnel-car-wash, self-serve, and large-vehicle equipment our industry had seen.

Sherm’s innovations were a result of his relentless pursuit of providing solutions to the thousands of car wash operators he would meet and work with during his hundreds of trips visiting car washes in every corner of the car wash world. It was normal for Sherm to park his Suburban with trailer attached in a customer’s lot and spend days brainstorming a solution that would eventually, in many cases, result in a new product for the car wash industry.
Sherm, with all his talent, skills, and intellect was one of the kindest, gentlest, and most passionate men I have ever met. Sherm never forgot his roots and never lost his humility. Sherm’s passing is a monumental loss, especially considering his contributions, which were not always fully recognized. — Fred Grauer


For National Car Care Month in April, the Car Care Council has added a new map feature to its Car Care Event Finder to make it easier for motorists to find a vehicle check-up event in their area.

“The Car Care Council’s website ( is the ‘go to’ place to find community car care events and the new map feature will make it even easier to pinpoint an event’s location,” said Rich White, the council’s executive director. “Community car care events are a unique opportunity for consumers to learn about their vehicle’s condition and maintenance needs.”

Each year during National Car Care Month, hundreds of community car care events are conducted nationwide by independent repair shops and auto parts stores as well as vocational schools and other aftermarket organizations. The free inspections held during these events have revealed that a vast majority of vehicles require some type of service or new part and provide an opportunity for technicians to talk one-on-one with motorists in a fun, non-threatening environment.


The exclusive licensee of Armor All Professional™ brand car wash products, Zep Inc., is partnering with two distributors to bring additional services and local delivery in the Florida market.

Auto Magic of Mid-Florida has been appointed to service accounts in central Florida, including Tampa, St. Petersburg, and the Orlando-to-Melbourne area. Technology at Work Inc. has been appointed to service the southwest coast of Florida from Naples to Bradenton.

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